Wimbledon shades French Open while confirming they won't ban alcohol in stands

Wimbledon will keep serving alcohol on the court and that news came with a dig at the French Open.

by Dzevad Mesic
Wimbledon shades French Open while confirming they won't ban alcohol in stands
© Getty Images Sport - Pool

Wimbledon won't be going the same route that the French Open went as Wimbledon officials will continue with their alcohol on-court policy because they simply believe that British fans know how to behave even after a couple of drinks, unlike the French. 

As you probably already know well, one of the biggest storylines of this year's French Open was David Goffin claiming that a drunk fan spat chewing gum at him. The former world No. 7 didn't stop there, alleging that throughout his match against Giovanni Mpetshi-Perricard, the crowd was pretty disrespectful and the Belgian even compared them to "hooligans."

After the Goffin story made all the tennis headlines, French Open tournament director Amelie Mauresmo decided to react. And Mauresmo's reaction was a huge one - the tournament decided to ban serving alcohol in the stands during matches.

But at next week's Wimbledon, fans will be able to have some drinks while watching tennis. 

"We don’t feel the need to put an edict in place. British Wimbledon fans are a bit different to French fans," an AELTC source told The Times.

Wimbledon © Getty Images Sport - Mike Hewitt

What happened exactly at the French Open?

On the third day of the tournament on one of the outside courts, Goffin started his French Open campaign by playing against 20-year-old Frenchman Mpetshi-Perricard and the entire crowd was on the Frenchman's side - and since it was an outside court - Goffin wasn't too far away from the crowd.

But Goffin overcame the talented Frenchman and the crowd by sealing a 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-7 (4) 6-3 win. But after the match, the real show started. 

“Clearly, it goes too far, it’s total disrespect. It’s really too much. It’s becoming [like] football, soon there will be smoke bombs, hooligans and there will be fights in the stands," Goffin said in his post-match press conference. 

“It’s starting to become ridiculous. Some people are there more to cause trouble than to create an atmosphere. Someone spat out their chewing gum at me. It [the match] was getting complicated. That’s why I wanted to stay calm. If I started to get angry about it, it could have destabilized me.

"A lot of people are complaining, a lot of umpires feel that there is a lot of disrespect. This is repeated a lot in the locker room and among the ATP authorities. We’re going to have to do something about that.

"I think it only happens in France. At Wimbledon, obviously, there’s not that - or in Australia either. And at the US Open, it’s still rather quiet - here, it’s really an unhealthy atmosphere."

David Goffin
David Goffin© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Goffin's harsh criticism led to something happening and that also drew a lot of attention.

"Alcohol was until now authorized in the stands. Now it's over," French Open director Mauresmo announced two days after Goffin's comments. 

"We are happy people are very enthusiastic about watching tennis and being part of the matches, showing and feeling emotions, but there are definitely steps which shouldn't go further. A few things have needed to be put in place."

How Goffin reacted to the French Open's decision?

A bit funnily, Goffin was playing his second-round match against Alexander Zverev when the French Open organizers announced their new alcohol policy. That day, Goffin lost to Zverev in three sets but the press caught him to ask him to reveal his feelings about the French Open move. 

“First of all, I didn't know. So happy that you told me the story, but I don't know what to say. I don't know if it was the reason why after my match two days ago. I just said what I was thinking," Goffin said about the alcohol ban.

"I didn't want to make a long story about that. It was just what I was feeling after my match, but then I didn't know if it was because of the alcohol or something... I didn't know that they were drinking alcohol during the match in the stands or in the stadium. So I didn't know.

"No, maybe something great. I have no idea. I don't know what to say. No, what I can say is just that today was just a great, great atmosphere. It was a little bit easier mentally, but I didn't win the match."

David Goffin
David Goffin © Getty Images Sport - Mike Hewitt

Meanwhile, Goffin will first have to earn a Wimbledon main draw spot since he is playing in this week's Wimbledon qualifying event. 

But since Goffin won the Ilkley Challenger last week and he is in fine form, he is definitely one of the favorites to make it past the qualifying tournament at Roehampton.

Wimbledon French Open